Just leave the poor kids alone?

Jan 14, 2012 at 1:00pm | Leave a comment

I'm in the grocery store. I know you may not be able to hear the dialogue here, so here's a transcription:

 

Dad: Can you say Shee-Tah-Kee, sweetie? Shee-Tah-Kee!

Approximately-5-year-old: Shitaki

Dad: You are sooooo smart!!! Wowee! And do you know what the really big ones are called? (At which point I want to get my friggin' cheap white mushrooms and get the hell out of here without making a crack about what the Big Ones are called. Instead I pull out my phone and start typing to you on it, which could be seen as passive aggressive, sure.) PORT-AHHH-BELL-OHS! Now you count as I put them in the bag! Oooooooone!

Little kid: One.

 

This is going on and on. I am scared he is going to start doing it in Mandarin, but it looks like he is saving that for another aisle. Instead...

 

Kid: Five!

Dad: Tah-dah!! (which I think you can actually hear from my phone because I am pretty darn close to them now -- disobeying personal-space guidelines).

 

What happened to the good old days when the only conversation between parents and kids in grocery stores was, "Put that back, you little brat!" Or "Get in line." Or "Fuck you, Jane" (my mom is the coolest).

 

I mean, please tell me if this is a NYC phenomenon and where you live it is nothing like this. And by the way, I do truly appreciate that I can afford to buy these nice foods to eat.

 

Ok, now I'm in the checkout line (still obnoxiously typing) and the woman behind me won't stop talking in a monologue listing everything in my cart: "Bananas! Pasta! Yogurt! (She skips the unhealthy stuff, FYI.) But not a DINOSAUR!!" The kid is in one of those infant-sling things, eyes lolling around in his head. I know I am far from the first person to address this phenomenon that started around the time that parent became a verb, and I do not judge (just wanted my mushrooms and yoga hadn't chilled me out enough to wait that patiently -- fortunately I have you to write this to -- thank you). So, what is going to happen to these kids whose experiences are so tirelessly narrated and sculpted by their handlers? Or were you one of those kids and how's it going? Why would a dinosaur be in my cart??

 

Walking home now.